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Effects of Controllability and Transparency on User Experience in Three Prototypical Mobile Games

LOCATION:  TEL, Room Auditorium 3 (20th floor), Ernst-Reuter-Platz 7, 10587 Berlin  

Date/Time: 16.09.2019, 14:15-15:00 

SPEAKER: Michael Johannes Steudter (TU Berlin)

Abstract:The experiences users have while playing a mobile game are very different com- pared to experiences in a utilitarian system, e.g. a webbrowser. The role of chal- lenge is one of the most prominent differences. It is a major prerequisite for having fun in games, whereas challenge in a utilitarian system is put in connection with low usability. The level of challenge needed to make games enjoyable depends on the players’ experience, their skills in games and personal preferences. Offer- ing different static levels of difficulty is a simple solution employed by a lot of games but dynamic difficulty adjustment seems to be a better approach to match a game’s difficulty level to skills of players. This thesis focuses on the effects of controllability and transparency in a user interface for such adjustment algorithms in mobile games. It provides an overview of existing work on dynamic difficulty adjustment in gaming, possible evaluation methods and research about effects of controllability and transparency in user interfaces for adaptive algorithms in gen- eral. In addition to that, a controlled experiment with 24 participants is conducted to examine effects of controllability and transparency. To separate the evaluation of the user interface from an underlying algorithm, the layered evaluation approach is applied where an actual algorithm is replaced by a random generator. Transparency of the users’ gaming performance had an effect on hedonic quality of the user in- terface. Contrary to expectations different levels of control had no effects on any user experience scale. These findings indicate that players enjoy to get personal- ized information about their performance. It does not seem to matter whether this information is true or not.

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